The Jordan Effect Re-post (Day 23)
Welcome to Day 23 of the Anion Sports 25 Days of Christmas blog. Today's topic is something that we talked about in my Sport and Gender class this past semester. It's called commodification and is when we treat things as simply objects of trade.We talked about it in relation to Michael Jordan and how his impact has left this hanging impression over the game for the last few decades.
*NOTE: THIS IS NOT A WHO IS BETTER ARGUMENT!!! IF YOU WANT THAT LISTEN TO CAN'T BE STOPPED EP 1!*
The Jordan Effect is the economic, social and cultural phenomenon surrounding NBA legend Michael Jordan. During his career, he managed to accomplish a lot on the court, but he became a larger than life personality from it. His career coincided with a better effort to market athletes and the development of technology to aid that process.
Nike really managed to change the game and Jordan was the primary beneficiary of their process. His advertisements with Nike and his other sponsors are some of the highest grossing ads of all time. I’m 22, which means that I wasn’t alive or able to process this during it happening, but even I have seen the commercial with Spike Lee. “It’s gotta be the shoes!”
Indeed, it was the shoes. Jordan’s shoe deal is one of the most iconic in the history of business. Never have I seen someone who was able to build their own shoe line into an internal company inside of a market leader. Seriously, the fact that two of the biggest brands in footwear are under the same umbrella is ridiculous. Has anyone ever gone through an argument about which is better, Nikes or Jordans? This guy has, and it is hilarious.
The Jordan effect spills over into popular culture as well. Every player who suits up in the NBA is chasing the ghost of Mike.
Exhibit A: LeBron James. He has had his every move compared to Michael Jeffrey Jordan since before he was drafted. Everything he does is “Oh, but Michael did this, Mike did that.” Never has a player been held to a higher standard because no one has held an influence over a sport like Mike. The Jordan effect is alive and well and has quite frankly grown out of proportion.
The commodification of athletes is a tad bit saddening. They are people too and so often they get treated as just a means to and ends when it comes to meeting quotas at a major company. I think this speaks to how black athletes and their masculinity are treated. For example, Nike has a habit of picking only athletes that fit a certain build. The company disrespected Steph Curry so much during his contract extension talks that he walked and went to Under Armour and then became the best player in the league. And part of the reason Nike balked was because he didn’t fit the mold of the hulking man of a player like LeBron, Kobe, KD or even Kyrie Irving.